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FAQs on Small Claims


Frequently Asked Questions and Answers


Where do I file if the defendant lives out of state?

You may file in the county in Oregon where the defendant contracted to perform a specific obligation.


How long do I have to file?  Is there a statute of limitations for small claims?

The court will accept any claim filed, but you may want to check with an attorney concerning the statute of limitations.


This person owes me more than the $10,000 limit.  Can I file two claims against them?

The plaintiff must include all of the amounts claimed from the defendant arising out of a single transaction or occurrence.  If the claim is less than $10,000, then it may be filed as a small claims case.


How long does the whole small claims process take? How long before I go to court?

Each case varies.  The process can take anywhere from 2-8 weeks. The defendant has 14 days to respond to your claim. If the defendant files a response (called an ``answer") the parties will receive a hearing notice.  If the defendant demands a jury trial, the plaintiff will be contacted to file a formal complaint and may wish to consult an attorney immediately. If the defendant does not respond, the plaintiff may request a default judgment.


I don't know where the defendant lives; can he/she be served at work?

Yes. Contact your process server for any restrictions on where the defendant can and cannot be served.


I can't appear at the hearing. Can another person appear on my behalf?

No.  If they are not a named party on the case (either defendant or plaintiff), they will not be allowed to testify as to the truthfulness of the matter before the court. An exception to this rule is if you are acting as an agent or representative of a business that has been named in a case .